In late December 2019, the People’s Republic of China reported an outbreak of pneumonia due to unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei Province.
In early January 2020, the cause of the outbreak was identified as a new coronavirus. While early cases were likely infected by an animal source in a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan, ongoing human-to-human transmission is now occurring.
There are a number of coronaviruses that are transmitted from human-to-human which are not of public health concern. However COVID-19 can cause respiratory illness of varying severity. Currently, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for infection with the virus.
On the 30 January 2020 the World Health Organization declared that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The collection of resources on this page contains information and advice on COVID-19.
Advice for returning travellers
If you have returned from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macao within the last 14 days, please go to NHS Inform website for the most up-to-date information and advice.
If our understanding of COVID-19 changes then guidance will be updated. Always check this website to ensure that any guidance you are using is the latest version.
Guidance for use in Scotland
- initial investigation of possible cases, includes the following guidance documents:
- Guidance for Health Protection Teams (HPTs) (last updated 13 February 2020)
- Guidance for primary care (last updated 13 February 2020)
- Guidance for secondary care (last updated 13 February 2020)
- Guidance for pharmacies (last updated 14 February 2020)
- Guidance for dental teams (last updated 14 February 2020)
- Guidance for opticians and optometrists (last updated 14 February 2020)
- Guidance for sampling and laboratory investigations (last updated 15 February 2020)
- Algorithm summarising sampling and laboratory investigations (last updated 15 February 2020)
- Packaging of COVID-19 samples for referral to regional testing labs (last updated 17 February 2020)
- Guidance for healthcare providers - healthcare workers who have travelled to a risk area for COVID-19 (last updated 13 February)
- Guidance for first responders and others in close contact with symptomatic people with potential COVID-19 (last updated 10 February 2020)
- HPS avian flu guidance, includes the following guidance documents:
- Investigation and management of possible human cases of Avian Influenza A/H5N1, in returning travellers (last updated 10 April 2015)
- Investigation and management of possible human cases of avian influenza A/H7N9, in returning travellers (last updated 19 February 2015)
- Infection control advice for severe respiratory illness from novel or emerging pathogens (last updated 13 February 2020)
- COVID-19 - risk areas (last updated 6 February 2020)
Guidance for travellers
For the general public who are planning to travel abroad, guidance can be found on fitfortravel. Where a COVID-19 risk is identified then country pages will be updated.
For health professionals who are advising travellers, guidance can be found on TRAVAX. Where a COVID-19 risk is identified then country pages will contain updated guidance.